Murgia Alta Natura 2000 site (IT9120007), SCI and SPA, in Southern Italy, includes a National Park since 2004. It is characterized by a typical Mediterranean agro-pastoral landscape with millennial land-use history mainly occupied by semi-natural rocky dry grasslands, traditionally used as extensive pastures. In Murgia Alta the semi-natural grassland ecosystem hosts numerous endemic, rare or trans-Adriatic distribution species. This area is considered of crucial importance for the conservation of wildlife and priority species.
During the last three decades, in Murgia Alta the dominant semi-natural grassland ecosystem characterized by endemic and threatened species has been exposed to accelerated processes of habitat degradation, fragmentation and biotic contamination (i.e., woody encroachment), within and next to its borders, on local biodiversity, due to both agricultural intensification (transformation of grassland pastures into agricultural cereal crops intensification) and land abandonment. Furthermore, the long-term below-average rainfall (climate change), the increasing of either legal and illegal mining activities or wind farms infrastructures, fire events and the spread of invasive species contribute to the threat to the ecosystem, which is in danger of destruction.
The LIFE20 PRE/IT/000007 project is funded at a percentage of 60% from the LIFE financial instrument “LIFE Preparatory project – Programme for the Environment and Climate Action” of the European Commission.
The GREEN FUND co-finances the NewLife4Drylands project for 2021 through financing the University of Crete – Natural History Museum of Crete and the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature partners with the total amount of €20,000.00.